8 Best Foldable Rowing Machines: Reviewed & Compared

Rowing is one of the best types of cardio that you can do without putting excess pressure on your joints. A rowing machine can be a great cardio machine addition to any home gym besides a standard treadmill.

With home gyms, space can be limited. Check out our comprehensive guide to foldable rowing machines to save space and get a full-body workout at home.

Benefits Of Foldable Rowing Machines

The main advantage of these rowers is that they are compact, portable, and save space. They are ideal for people with limited space in their home gym set up, such as apartment owners and garage gym users.

Foldable rowing machines are also great for cardio and full-body workouts. They help promote weight loss, heart health, and muscle building. Using a rowing machine for just 30 minutes a day will strengthen every muscle in your body while you work up a sweat.

Highlights:
  • Compact and portable
  • Cardio workouts
  • Strength building routines

How Do I Choose A Quality Foldable Rowing Machine?

Types of Resistance

  • Air resistance machines use a flywheel to generate wind. The user generates the wind, and resistance increases the harder they pull.
  • Water resistance machines use paddles that sit in a small tank of water. Once the user pulls the handle, the paddles spin and create resistance.
  • Magnetic resistance machines use magnets to slow down or speed up a wheel. These types of devices often have resistance settings.

Stability and Durability

A rowing machine should have a stable platform, so the athlete can use both their legs and arms to engage the machine. Your rowing equipment should have a long seat rail to ensure that you get a full extension without falling off. They should also be durable enough to withstand daily use.

Ease of Assembly, Folding, and Storage

The rowing machines in our buyer’s guide all come with a folding mechanism that allows for easier storage in your home gym. Most of these products come assembled, but you may have to attach the seat rail and handle. You should be able to assemble them within an hour by yourself.

Size vs. Available Space

You will need approximately 9 feet by 5 feet to use a row machine in your home or garage gym. The average folded length of a rowing device is about 36 inches. You should leave enough clearance for moving it around as well. They take up more space than most gym equipment.

Comfort and Adjustability

Your rowing machine should have a comfortable seat cushion with extra support and padding. It should include some adjustability for height, especially for tall athletes or people with long legs. Another comfort feature is a textured, padded, or grippy handle. It can help you hold onto the machine at a rigorous rowing pace.

Max User Weight and Height

Most of the rowing devices on our list have a maximum user weight of around 240 to 330 lbs. We recommend buying a machine that has a long seat rail if you are a tall athlete. Most rowing devices have a max user inseam of 36 to 45 inches. 

Noise Level

If you live in a small apartment or often exercise while others are sleeping, you may want to invest in a quieter machine. Hydraulic and magnetic rowing equipment makes very little noise, while water and air machines make some noise due to their design. Air machines are the loudest, especially at more difficult resistance levels.

Display Monitor Functionality

All of the products that we tested below come with an LCD monitor that can display your fitness stats. Most of them will display basic stats such as elapsed time, calories burned, pace, and sometimes heart rate. Some high-end rowing machines will allow you to hook up your phone via Bluetooth.

Price and Warranty

We strived to provide a list of rowing machines that will fit everyone's budget. Models that have extra features are usually more expensive. The products we reviewed ranged from $200 to $500. Water machines tend to be the most costly. All of the units that we tested came with a warranty ranging from 1 to 5 years.


8 Best Foldable Rowing Machines Reviewed

1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

On Sale Today
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing...
  • DIGITAL MONITOR: The large LCD console...
  • EXTRA LONG SLIDE RAIL: At 48 inches in slide...
  • ADJUSTABLE MAGNETIC RESISTANCE: With a simple...
  • TRANSPORTATION WHEELS: Built-in...

Best Foldable Rowing Machine

Dimensions

82 x 19 x 23 inches

Folded Dimensions

37 x 19 x 53.5 inches

Resistance Type

Magnetic

Resistance Levels

8

Inseam

44 inches

Weight Capacity

250 lbs

If you're looking for our top pick in this category, you should check out this model for your home gym. We chose the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 as the best foldable rowing machine on the market. It sits at a reasonable price point, and it’s packed with enough features to please any athlete.

This model comes with a magnetic resistance mechanism that makes hardly any noise. You can use it while you watch TV without disturbance. It features 8 levels of resistance to create a more or less challenging workout. It has an LCD display that shows workout stats such as time and calories burned.

It comes with an extra-long sliding seat rail that can accommodate athletes of almost any size.

You can fold the machine up neatly and roll it away when you’re done with your routine. The foot pedals feature a grippy texture with straps to hold your feet firmly in position. The handle has a nonslip foam grip that increases comfort and decreases wrist strain.

Our favorite part about this rower is that it offered a lot of value for the price. We liked that it was made of alloy steel, which should last for many years.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Durable alloy steel
  • Extra-long slide rail

Cons

  • LCD monitor requires batteries

2. MaxKare

On Sale Today
MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine Folding...
1,452 Reviews
MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine Folding...
  • 🏅 DIGITAL DISPLAY PANEL- The Large LCD...
  • 🏅 EXTRA LONG SLIDE RAIL - The slide rail...
  • 🏅 16 LEVELS RESISTANCE - Subtle control of...
  • 🏅 PADDLED HANDLES & CUSHIONED SEAT -...

Best Foldable Rowing Machine for Home Use

Dimensions

76.4 x 19.7 x 18.5 inches

Folded Dimensions

37.4 x 19.7 x 42.3 inches

Resistance Type

Magnetic

Resistance Levels

16

Inseam

45 inches

Weight Capacity

243 lbs

Most of our readers are looking for equipment for their garage gym. We’ve picked out a rower that is ideal for your garage gym setup. We chose the MaxKare model as the best foldable rowing machine for home use.

This MaxKare rower comes with 16 levels of magnetic resistance, which is ideal for fine-tuning your workout intensity. The resistance can be changed with a simple twist of a center dial. It has a digital display console that shows you the total number of calories burned and the time elapsed during a session.

This model can accommodate athletes up to 6’5” tall. It has a max weight capacity of 243 lbs. It comes with a foam grip handle and a large comfortable seat cushion. It has large, textured footrests with velcro straps.

We were impressed that this foldable rowing machine came with 16 levels of resistance. Anyone in your family can use this machine with ease. We didn’t care for the footrests since they seemed to tilt a bit farther forward than other models.

We liked that MaxKare included a small storage holder for electronics or water bottles. This machine was exceptionally quiet due to its magnetic resistance and smooth flywheel.

Pros

  • Storage holder
  • 16 levels of resistance
  • Easy turn dial

Cons

  • Tilted footrests are less comfortable

3. Merax

Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine Foldable...
238 Reviews
Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine Foldable...
  • 【Various Workout Equipment-Multiple...
  • 【 Extra Padding & Rotary Design-Fully...
  • 【Track Your Workout-Large LCD Display...
  • 【Comfortable and Silence-15 Degree Angled...

Best Folding Rowing Machine Under $300

Dimensions

73 x 16 x 21 inches

Folded Dimensions

26 x 16 x 49 inches

Resistance Type

Magnetic

Resistance Levels

8

Inseam

43.3 inches

Weight Capacity

264 lbs

If you’re building your garage or home gym, then you may not want to spend too much money on equipment. We chose the Merax model as the best foldable rowing machine under $300. It is ideal for people who want a good rowing machine without breaking the bank.

This Merax model comes with a magnetic resistance flywheel that has 8 different levels. It has a padded, upholstered seat that is tilted at a 15-degree angle. This level of tilt helps reduce the level of noise and sliding resistance. It features an LCD display screen that shows you workout stats while rowing.

It comes with built-in wheels and an easy folding seat rail that makes storage simple. The resistance can be changed quickly with an oversized knob that clicks into place at each level. According to Merax, this rower activates 86% of your muscles with each row.

One feature that we liked about this machine was that the footrests' tilt angle could be adjusted. It increases comfort for each user. While Merax claims to have a comfortable seat, we disagreed and thought it was too firm. However, we liked the 15-degree tilt angle. This machine also looks pretty cool with its black and blue color scheme.

Pros

  • Seat tilted 15 degrees
  • Stylish color scheme
  • Adjustable and tilted foot pedals

Cons

  • Uncomfortable seat cushion

4. Koreyosh Water Rowing Machine

Koreyosh Foldable Water Rowing Machine Indoor...
  • 【Real Water Rowing Experience】 The rowing...
  • 【Full Body Cardio Workout】Rowing helps us...
  • 【LCD Digital Monitor】Our water rowing...
  • 【Easy to Assemble & Store】Come with...

Best Foldable Water Rowing Machine

Dimensions

84 x 22 x 20 inches

Folded Dimensions

42 x 22 x 20 inches

Resistance Type

Water

Resistance Levels

Manual

Inseam

36 inches

Weight Capacity

330 lbs

This is the only water rower that we have included on our list. They are not as popular as magnetic machines, and they create a lot more noise. One advantage is that they provide a more authentic rowing experience. We chose the Koreyosh model as the best foldable water rowing machine.

Koreyosh designed this machine to be as similar to actual boating as possible. They included a 3-gallon water tank that increases resistance as the user rows faster. This model is made of oak wood, which is durable but not as good looking as other models. It comes with a padded U-shaped seat that is comfortable.

It has adjustable foot pedals with heel guards to keep your feet steady. The handle of this rower is padded and slightly curved, which puts less strain on your wrists. The LCD monitor tracks your fitness stats, including distance, strokes, time, and calories.

We thought that this machine was comfortable to use for extended periods. We were impressed with the display counter since it tracked distance and strokes, which seems to be missing on other models. We thought it was a bit expensive, and it doesn't look as cool as some of the other models.

Pros

  • Authentic rowing experience
  • Small footprint when folded
  • Informative display console

Cons

  • Expensive

5. Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW

CIRCUIT FITNESS Circuit Fitness Deluxe...
  • HARD-WEARING CONSTRUCTION - Made from...
  • VARIABLE RESISTANCE SETTINGS - This practical...
  • COMFORTABLE WORKOUT GEAR - Reinforced with a...
  • DIGITAL SCREEN DISPLAY - Completed with an...

Best Foldable Rowing Machine Under $500

Dimensions

71 x 20.5 x 31.5 inches

Folded Dimensions

49 x 20.5 x 51 inches

Resistance Type

Magnetic

Resistance Levels

8

Inseam

42 inches

Weight Capacity

300 lbs

If you are looking to spend a little more money, then you should check out this model. We chose the Circuit Fitness AMZ-986RW as the best foldable rowing machine under $500. This machine is ideal for users who want a top of the range rower for their home gym.

This Circuit Fitness foldable rowing machine comes with 8 levels of magnetic resistance. The flywheel is quiet, so you can use it when other people are sleeping or while watching TV. It comes with a steel and aluminum frame that is both lightweight and durable.

The seat is reinforced with durable injection molding, which makes it comfortable for rigorous rowing. It comes with grippy padded foam handles. The footrests have adjustable straps, so they’ll fit almost any size feet. The display panel shows strokes, distance, time, and even ambient temperature.

This machine was impressive with its stylish look and color scheme. We thought that the seat was extremely comfortable. We liked the position of the LCD screen. It offered a heads up view with a lot of information about your workout. The foot straps were durable and easy to adjust. If you’re willing to spend a bit of extra cash, then this model might work great for you.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable seat
  • Heads up display monitor
  • Quiet flywheel

Cons

  • More expensive than other models

6. Marcy Foldable

On Sale Today
Marcy Foldable 8-Level Magnetic Resistance...
  • EIGHT PRESET LEVELS – The Marcy Rowing...
  • GREAT CARDIO WORKOUT – Burn fat and tone...
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN – This rowing machine has...
  • MULTI-ANGLE MONITOR – Thismachine comes...

Most Portable Folding Rowing Machine

Dimensions

74.4 x 19.7 x 31.9 inches

Folded Dimensions

37 x 20 x 46 inches

Resistance Type

Magnetic

Resistance Levels

8

Inseam

44 inches

Weight Capacity

300 lbs

One advantage of all of the products we've chosen for testing is their compact and transportable nature. We chose the Marcy Foldable model as the most portable folding rowing machine in this roundup. It has extra stability features, and you can transport it from place to place in your home gym.

This Marcy model comes with 8 levels of resistance that use a magnetic flywheel mechanism. Like the last model we reviewed, it comes with a heads-up display screen with a media storage slot for your phone.

The foot pedals come with adjustable straps. The resistance knob is easy to turn between rows. It comes with an extra stability bar in the middle of the slide rail, making it one of the most stable that we have reviewed. The LCD screen also folds down flat.

Our favorite feature of this foldable rowing machine is the extra stability bar. It was designed for vigorous rowing. We also liked that portable nature since it was intended for personal home gyms.

According to Nannette Bradley, “I love this rowing machine… It was relatively easy to assemble, no major issues. I have been using daily love that it is not loud at all.”

Pros

  • Display screen folds down
  • Easy to transport
  • Media slot included

Cons

  • Smaller than other models

7. Stamina 35-1405

Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower 1405 Rowing...
  • Versatile fitness: rowing is widely known as...
  • Dynamic air resistance: Simple fan-powered...
  • Lcd multi-function monitor: Track your speed,...
  • Comfort and Convenience: includes foam...

Best Folding Air Rowing Machine

Dimensions

78.5 x 19.5 x 31.5 inches

Folded Dimensions

39.3 x 19.5 x 31.5 inches

Resistance Type

Air

Resistance Levels

Manual

Inseam

40 inches

Weight Capacity

250 lbs

If you are looking for a fan-powered rower, then this may be the best option for you. It is the only air-powered model on our list. We chose the Stamina 35-1405 as the best folding air rowing machine on the market. It comes with an oversized fan flywheel that creates more resistance as the user rows faster.

This Stamina model comes with a manual resistance flywheel that generates wind as you row. It features a shorter than average sliding rail, but it still accommodates tall athletes over 6 feet. It has a fitness monitor screen that shows speed, distance, calories burned, and time. It comes with a small but comfortable seat. The foot pedals are oversized, so they make you feel stable while rowing.

One disadvantage of this air rowing machine is that it is much louder than other magnetic models. You may not be able to use it if other people in your home are sleeping in the next room. The fan flywheel also has a tendency to collect dust. The foot pedals and the seat were comfortable and stable, however.

As one user noted, “Full body workout in a reliable machine that occupies little space and will last trouble-free for a lifetime. Just what you need for a full-body transformation.”

Pros

  • Manual resistance
  • Comfortable foot pedals
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Very noisy

8. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5801

On Sale Today
Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding...
  • MAGNETIC TENSION: 16 levels of tension ensure...
  • BOTTLE & DEVICE HOLDER: Place drink and...
  • ERGONOMIC FOOT PEDALS: Engage your quads as...
  • OVERSIZED SEATING: Large padded seating...

Best Inexpensive Foldable Indoor Rower

Dimensions

77 x 23 x 22.5 inches

Folded Dimensions

36.3 x 23 x 47 inches

Resistance Type

Magnetic

Resistance Levels

16

Inseam

43.5 inches

Weight Capacity

250 lbs

This model is ideal for users who want to add a new piece of equipment to their home gym without forking over a ton of money. We thought that the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5801 was the best inexpensive foldable indoor rower available. It comes with plenty of features, but it’s budget-friendly.

The SF-RW5801 comes with 16 levels of resistance that are operated by a magnetic flywheel. You can turn the dial between rows to get a cardio or muscle-building workout. All age levels can use it due to the fine-tuning resistance dial. It comes with storage space for your device and water bottle.

This rowing machine has a wide, padded seat that is comfortable and stable. The flywheel is quiet and won’t disturb your neighbors. It has stabilizers on the base so that you can adjust the machine on uneven ground.

We liked that this machine was budget-friendly and straightforward for all users. It uses Synergy Power Motion technology, which makes for a quiet and effective flywheel. We would have liked to see a more detailed display screen.

As Lilliana noted in her review, “Great rower! There's a good range of resistance… I like that there's a section for your device.”

Pros

  • Budget-friendly model
  • 16 levels of resistance
  • Synergy Power Motion technology

Cons

  • Limited recording of fitness stats

Comparing Folding vs. Non-Foldable Rowing Machines

If you’re looking to save space, then a foldable rowing machine is the best choice.

They are ideal for home gyms because they can be stored upright and out of the way compared to non-foldable machines. Foldable machines could be considered slightly less stable than a one-piece, non-foldable device. We found the stability of the machines above to work well for us.

Foldable rowing machines are also ideal for moving around the house. You can take the device out of storage and put it in front of the TV easily. Non-foldable devices might have longer sliding rails, however.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What are the best brands of foldable rowing machines on the market?

Some of the top manufacturers of foldable rowing machines include Sunny Health & Fitness, Marcy, and Merax. These products come with the best features and offer superb durability.

Are there special maintenance steps needed for keeping indoor foldable rowers in good working condition?

Yes, we recommend wiping down your indoor rower after each use. You should also maintain the slide rail to ensure that the seat slides smoothly on the rail without any bumps or hang-ups. We recommend using a glass cleaner or light detergent.

How much should I expect to pay for a foldable rowing machine?

The machines that we reviewed range from just over $200 to $500. Other rowers, especially air and water ones, can cost up to $1000. For your home gym, we recommend sticking to under $500 for a quality machine at a fair price.

Are rowers good for cardio and/or building core muscle strength?

Yes, rowing machines are ideal for a full-body workout. Cardio and muscle building occurs naturally since the machine works your entire body. According to AFPA Wellness, the rowing stroke when using an indoor rower is composed of 65-75% leg work and 25-35% upper body work.

How long should I workout on a rower?

You can workout for as long as you want on a rower, but we recommend healthy intervals of 30 minutes to 1 hour. It is okay to use a rower every day as long as your muscles are not fatigued or injured.

Where is the best place to buy foldable rowers?

We recommend shopping on Amazon to find the foldable rowers on our list above. Amazon generally has the best prices and fast shipping.


Conclusion

We tried many different rowing machines for this buyer's guide and got in some intense workouts to bring you our top picks for foldable indoor rowers.

We think that one of these products has the edge, though. We chose the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 as the best foldable rowing machine.